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Chimpanzee Management Program

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Chimpanzee Management Program

The NIH Chimpanzee Management Program (ChiMP) supports long-term, cost-effective housing and maintenance at NIH-supported facilities for chimpanzees. ORIP provides programmatic oversight of the facilities and ensures they comply with the Animal Welfare Act, and policies concerning laboratory animal care and use.

In 1995, a breeding moratorium on NCRR-owned and supported chimpanzees was instituted. Soon after, the Chimpanzee Management Plan Working Group was created to periodically assess the need for chimpanzees in research and to report its findings to the National Advisory Research Resources Council, NCRR's advisory body. The Working Group serves as a fact-finding body that gathers information, analyzes relevant issues and facts, and drafts proposed position papers. The Working Group is comprised of non-government members with a wide range of scientific and non-scientific expertise.

The most recent meeting of the Working Group was held in March 2007 and the Report of the Chimpanzee Management Plan Working Group, (66K PDF, requires free Acrobat Reader Exit Disclaimer), was provided to the National Advisory Research Resources Council on May 22, 2007.

While NCRR acknowledges the continuing importance of chimpanzees to biomedical research, it also recognizes the fiduciary responsibilities it has to maintain the health and well-being of the chimpanzees already in its care. Since chimpanzees in captivity can live 50 years or more, high-quality care for just one animal over its lifespan can cost $300,000 to $500,000. In addition to its responsibilities to provide care for the existing chimpanzees owned or supported by NCRR, the Center must also fulfill its budget responsibilities to its other programs and resources, which are critical to the creation and delivery of lifesaving cures and treatments to the American people.

Therefore, after careful review of existing chimpanzee resources, NCRR has determined that it does not have the financial resources to support the breeding of chimpanzees that are owned or supported by NCRR. However, NCRR will continue to honor its commitments to the existing chimpanzee facilities, including the federal sanctuary for chimpanzees that are no longer needed in biomedical research.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary

In September 2002, NCRR announced the award of a contract to Chimp Haven, Inc Exit Disclaimer., a private, nonprofit organization, to establish and operate a chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary will provide lifetime care for federally owned or supported chimpanzees that are no longer needed for biomedical research. Over the term of the 10-year, cost-sharing contract, NCRR will provide approximately $19 million in total costs, and Chimp Haven will contribute approximately $4 million toward direct costs. NCRR also awarded two construction grants, totaling a little over $11.5 million, so that Chimp Haven could develop and build the state-of-the-art facility. A sanctuary system to provide lifetime care of retired research chimpanzees was mandated by the Chimpanzees Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act of December 2000.

In addition, NCRR has issued standards to implement provisions of the CHIMP Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and publish standards of care for chimpanzees held in the sanctuary system. The standards apply to only those facilities receiving funds as a part of the federally-funded chimpanzee sanctuary system.

October 10, 2008, Federal Register Notice: Standards of Care for Chimpanzees Held in the Federally Supported Chimpanzee System Exit Disclaimer (183K PDF, requires free Acrobat Reader Exit Disclaimer).

On July 8, 2008, the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Working Group toured the Chimp Haven facility with the Chimp Haven staff and Board of Directors. Following the tour, the Working Group and NIH staff met to review the on-site information provided by Chimp Haven. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary Working Group prepared a summary that was provided to the National Advisory Research Resources Council on September 16, 2008.

Contact Information

For further information, contact:

Harold Watson, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Division of Comparative Medicine
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
Office of the Director
National Institutes of Health
One Democracy Plaza
6701 Democracy Boulevard, MSC 4874
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4874 (20817 for express mail)
Telephone: 301-435-0744
Fax: 301-480-3819
E-mail: Harold.Watson

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